Person Centered Planning

Person-centered planning is a process that empowers people with and without disabilities to know that the possibilities of their goals can become realities of their future. The process uses people’s gifts and talents to put them in charge of defining the direction for their lives. This focus ultimately leads to greater inclusion as valued members of their communities.  Person-centered planning involves a focus person, their support team, along with a process and a graphic facilitator.  In order to guide the group through the process, each Person Centered Plan should include two facilitators. One Facilitator, known as the graphic facilitator, is responsible for recording the thoughts and ideas of the group in graphics. The other facilitator, known as the process facilitator, guides the group through a series of conversations to capture the hopes, dreams, and goals of the focus person.


A number of tools are used in Person Centered Planning, each having a specific purpose and includes varying conversations. The three tools most often used in Person Centered Planning, are PATHs (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope), MAPS (Making Action Plans), and Personal Futures Planning. These tools are used to solve different problems in varying amounts of time and detail. PATHs are used to create vision of a positive future for individuals, families, teams, or entire organizations. This tool works backwards – starting with the an ideal future, then planning backwards to achieve the desired outcome. Key outcomes from a MAPS include a shared vision within the group of a positive future for the focus person and a clear appreciation of the focus persons’ gifts. Personal Futures Planning, the most detailed of the tools, helps the focus person and circle of support to organize their community to build a more desirable future for the focus person.


Person Centered Planning is a way of enabling and empowering individuals to think about what they want now as well as the future.

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